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Joplin creating new position to oversee $31 million funding allotted for low income housing

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The Joplin city council has approved a new city position but not all members are happy about it.  The position is for a person to oversee projects funded through HUD Community Development Block Grants that total $160 million.

The first grant of about $45 million has nearly $31 million allotted for low income housing, but nothing's been built and renters are still turning to the Salvation Army for assistance, saying what is available is too high priced.

City employees say the new position should help get projects rolling but one councilman argues the job isn't needed.

"I felt like it was a waste of money, granted we have the money but why just because you have it?" says Mayor Pro Tem Bill Scearce.

"We thought it was in the best interest of the city and residents to have somebody come on board, oversee projects," says Assistant City Manager Sam Anselm.

Scearce argues that's why the city hired a company called Deloit for $1.5 million, for the first phase of the grant.  He expects staff will seek to hire another major company for the second phase.

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